Here are some ways to prepare for a visit to the doctor:
- Take all prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins and herbal supplements.
- Write down questions.
- Let the doctor know about new or increasing symptoms.
These health issues may be treated with medication and diet adjustments before they become more serious:
- Shortness of breath
- Inability to exercise
- Difficulty lying flat without extra pillows
- Swelling in legs
- Abdominal distention and bloating
- Coughing or wheezing
- Sudden weight gain
- Nausea or lack of appetite
Most of these symptoms are caused by excess fluid buildup. In heart failure, the body has difficulty ridding itself of salt and water.
- Be ready to talk about lifestyle changes: Decrease salt intake, increase physical activity and lose weight.
- Fluid restriction: Limit total fluid intake to 2 quarts (64 ounces or 8 cups) per day to help keep the body from retaining fluid.
- Sodium restriction: Limit total daily sodium (salt) intake based on the treatment plan to prevent fluid buildup.